MTM Ep#4: Using marketing automation to delight your customers with EJ White

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I’m joined today with EJ White, a senior strategist here at WebMechanix. He works with Shlomo Trachtenberg. They work heavily on B2C and B2B clients to optimize marketing automation, and that’s a hot space right now.


– When I think of marketing automation, I think of, I do think of work flows and email, but you’re making the point that, hey, it’s not just that.

– Yeah, you can really get as complicated or as simple as you want.

– Alright, welcome back to another episode of More Than Marketing. I’m your host Arsham Mirshah. I’m joined today with none other than EJ White. He’s a senior strategist here at WebMechanix. He works with Shlomo Trachtenberg, who’s been on some episodes in the past. You guys work heavily together on both B2C and B2B clients. You guys do a ton of marketing automation and that’s a hot space, hot MarTech, the intersection of marketing and technology is marketing automation, right. So I wanna talk about marketing automation today.

– Sure.

– I brought you in, ’cause I see you doing a lot with it and finding some really cool results for clients.

– Yeah, absolutely.

– So I figured we’d talk about it and we just find, see if we can help our audience. I think that our audience as directors of marketing, they’re VPs of marketing, CMOs, they wanna know about marketing automation, EJ.

– Sure.

– So let me ask you, you work in primarily B2C, but also in B2B.

– Sure.

– Tell me what you love about marketing automation.

– Sure, so marketing automation is naturally a very broad area of marketing, but

– Sure.

– I find it to be one of the most fulfilling and kind of fun areas to be in right now.

– Okay.

– There’s never been a time when technology is so accessible. The economies of scale have brought the price down that it’s pretty much accessible to really anyone. No matter the size of your organization, B2B, B2C, pretty much any organization that I’ve come across can benefit from marketing automation, whether it’s–

– Yeah, there’s so many providers out there, right?

– Absolutely.

– They all kinda cater to different ones like Infusionsoft, HubSpot, Marketo, those, you know, SharpSpring, to name a few.

– We could have an entire episode–

– Klaviyo, I’m just naming ’em, right? Entire episode of just naming them, that’s good.

– And those are, you named a lot of the email marketing software. Even things like Privy, or OptinMonster, those play an important part.

– Okay, yeah, yeah, good call.

– Obviously Marketo, one of the bigger names, just got acquired by Adobe. But in all, it’s a lot of fun. So I do a lot of work in the e-commerce space, as you know, and so we’re using a lot of marketing automation in terms of user personalization. So in the e-commerce world, the transaction compared to the B2B world, tends to be a lot shorter.

– Shorter, yes.

– And a lot more spontaneous.

– Yes, yes.

– And so what we work really hard to do is really make that session or that experience as personal, as like one-to-one, as possible. So we can do that with a lot of ways. One of them is pricing, so figuring out user behaviors and maybe not necessarily showing them a custom price, but being able to give them coupons based on their behavior. You might not want to give everyone a coupon, but if you can see that somebody’s closer to conversion, you can automate the way they get special pricing.

– Right, I like that.

– Can help conversion rates.

– Or give out special coupon or price based on their traffic source. If you know they came from an ad, and that ad said, so-and-so get 10% off or whatever, then you make sure to give them 10% off.

– Yeah, absolutely. And there’s tons of tools. Purview’s one of my favorites that does exactly that. You can have, based on pretty much limitless different factors, have different messages, and different types of pop-ups, hello bars, all kinds of stuff. They’re completely customized.

– That’s awesome.

– You passed through stuff from UTM parameters, like in an ads, so you can customize that experience and a lot of times with that,

– That’s great.

– With PPC, you’re already paying to get a customer to your site.

– Right. You really want to do everything you can do

– Everything you can

– to acquire them.

– Yeah, totally.

– Otherwise that money is kinda lost.

– Totally.

– Whether it’s acquiring their information or acquiring them as a customer off the bat.

– And you actually said something very interesting. You said that, ’cause I did name a bunch of the email marketing automation platforms, like definitely HubSpot and Infusionsoft, definitely have that email component essential to their technology, right.

– Sure.

– But you also made the point that there’s other marketing automation technologies out there that help you customize the experience for your visitors such that they enjoy that experience more and such that they convert into a lead or a sale in the e-commerce space.

– Yeah, absolutely.

– And that’s really cool. Thank you for pointing that out. ‘Cause when I think of marketing automation, I do think of workflows and email, but you’re making the point that, hey, it’s not just that.

– Yeah, you can really get as complicated or as simple as you want. That’s what I mean when I say any organization can really benefit, whether it’s just simple email collection that’s personalized based on traffic source to just a simple hello bar telling somebody some sort of offer, to chat bots that interact with AI or pseudo-AI type abilities.

– That’s huge nowadays.

– There’s a wide range.

– I see that as kind of, if you want to talk about bleeding edge of marketing automation, so to speak, or digital marketing, really. I see chat bots a lot. Do you want to talk on chat bots at all? Do you see them coming up? Do you see them useful?

– Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So one of the coolest experiences I’ve had recently was a group called the BMIF Group, which is a marketing group that they’re kinda on the cutting edge of growth marketing, and they have this bible of hundreds some different techniques that I really wanted to look at. So they got me to their landing page from probably either a social post or paid ad. And that landing page, the form collection wasn’t actually a form, it was a button that sent me back to Facebook, that gave permission to my Messenger and when I started interacting by Messenger, their bot collected my email address and my name. And then, they then connected with me, they sent me the guide through email and then followed up, obviously, they completed their end of the bargain, but then, they followed up by inviting me to be part of the community they had on Facebook and then on the community on Facebook they had a ton more content. They had a lot of interactive type features.

– All that stuff was all automated, by the way right?

– It was all automated.

– An entire flow. You didn’t once talk to a human, even though he was in Facebook Messenger, you didn’t talk to a human in that. On the other end was a bot, that’s like, “Hey, I know you want this thing, ’cause you clicked on this ad, or you took this action. I know what you want, let me go through the steps of giving it to you. And now, by the way, now that I have it to you and I have your info. Let me also show you these other awesome kind of resources that we have, such as the Facebook group that we have.” Get in and you know.

– And now, they interact with me through Facebook Messenger. I get messages now and then. I get notifications from the group and now I’ve become kind of integrated into this ecosystem where the next time they have some sort of content that comes out, I receive it. And they’re just really trying to build an ecosystem. I’m not really quite sure what the conversion point is.

– Well, yeah.

– There’s action, but–

– We’ll wait for it, right?

– It was a very, very, it’s an elegant system that they’ve set up. It really captures you across the entire–

– They’re warming you up.

– Right.

– They’re warming you up. So let’s think about it from their perspective, okay? So let’s just say you saw a social post. You wanted this resource, so you clicked on the social post. Through a chat bot, they got your email and they got you the resource, right? Now, in their system, you are this email address, you are this first name, you are this last name. They know that you have Facebook Messenger.

– Yep.

– They know your email address, so from that they can pull all your social profiles, so they know all that. They know what resource you downloaded, right. So now what they can do is put you into a list, right. Put you on a list that they have that says, here’s everyone who downloaded this resource. Now, when they come out with another resource that is relevant to that one or maybe it’s a paid resource, or maybe it’s not. Now, what are they going to to? They have all these people on this list, automagically, right, automatedly, through marketing automation. They can easily get that list of people, that they know is highly interested in this particular topic and then you’re more likely to buy. The conversion rate on that is way higher than if they were just putting out in thin air. You are already engaged.

– And there’s something you touched on that’s a very important part of the MA process that’s kind of on the back end, but they maybe using some sort of lead scoring technology, where they can see I’ve interacted, each time I’ve interacted they might take me up a point and so they can then segment their list by that lead score. So if they put on some sort of conference or something they are going to charge for, they could customize the messaging by the different segment of people who have interacted rather than just somebody who’s interacted once and got their resource vs has interacted, joined the Facebook group, who’s been to their site, interacted on LinkedIn, and X, Y, Z.

– All these touch points, it’s game over. You know that person is hot, right. Can we actually talk about lead scoring a bit more? Because I know our audience is always, it’s not just B2C. I’m sure there’s a lot of B2B Directors of Marketing, CMOs, VPs out there. And this is definitely a sore point. I know it’s a sore point, ’cause I hear it from our clients. I see it in their businesses. I swear it’s got to do with lead scoring and marketing automation. The connection between the marketing department and the sales department. Now we’re in a B2B world. We’re doing marketing for lead gen, not e-commerce, we’re not making a sale right then and there. And we’re getting all these leads. What happens? Sales sees these leads coming in. They start working on them and then they are like, “These leads suck. Marketing you suck.” whatever, right? And then there’s this battle and their fist fighting and whatever, exaggerating to make the point. So how does lead scoring help with that?

– So lead scoring basically just means within your CRM you have a way to basically quantify interactions between your CRM entry, the lead, the prospect, and actions you’ve taken with your tracked properties. So if you send them an email and they open their email, that could be one point. If they open their email and click through, that could be five points. If they go and download something from your site, you can have that marked as 10 points. It’s really arbitrary the points, but you wanna have some sort of really hierarchal system.

– Yeah, there’s some system to it. And that’s where the human comes in, to come up with that system. It’s like, look, if they download. You got to know the business and understand–

– Right, and this comes with the design of the funnel.

– That’s correct.

– But as you go through this process, you can basically say, as that score gets higher and higher, maybe there’s a threshold you set where the–

– They need 80 points before the sales people even see them in their queue, for example.

– Or based on a scale, they go from zero is cold to 100 is red hot, or whatever that scale is. But the thing to remember is that this can’t really happen in a vacuum. If you simply have a lead collection form where you’re just running PPC to a landing page and you’re collecting that information, you know that’s not going to be very useful. It really works more as a holistic strategy where you have people downloading something, you’re gonna re-market through email once they are a lead so you can kinda track that.

– Right.

– Otherwise you’re gonna have, you’re not gonna have many touch points. This really works if you have a very robust ecosystem of touch points in which to–

– There’s a lot of touch points and also then the kinda the marketing strategists that kinda engineer or architect, rather, architect that marketing automation plan. How many points is it going to be? And then, what do the workflows look like? They take this action, they click on this email, let’s say we send them an email, and they do nothing with it, okay. And then we send them a followup email. Let’s say we send them that same email and they actually click, maybe we put them over here in this workflow pattern. That architecture is where you leverage a, someone who is implementing marketing automation technology before.

– And that’s really where the marketing–

– That’s really where the fun is, right?

– That’s really where the marketing meets kind of more of the hard sciences of statistics and analysis and quantitative analysis–

– And technology you got to know what’s possible. You’ve got to know what’s trackable, you need to know how to track things, right?

– Absolutely.

– Sorry to cut you off.

– No, no, no worries. But you just need to be able to, that’s where the intersection, like you were saying, where marketing and technology. You can say, from the past we had 1000 leads and we can see that many of them are statistically significant amount of them interacted with us this many times and so that way, we can then understand that’s what it takes to get a quality lead. Without data, you can’t really do that. You can set something up and kind of and make some educated guesses in the beginning, but then it really takes that trackable analytical view to really kind of refine that and drill that down.

– So basically, marketing automation is not necessarily a huge platform, or a huge expensive platform that you buy it, you install it on your site, and you press go. It doesn’t just work that way. It’s also not always just a huge platform. It can also be–

– You don’t have to be on Adobe’s entire enterprise platform. That does the entire–

– Unless you just have unlimited money, and it’s better for some reason.

– If they are a huge enterprise then it makes sense, but for, you can–

– Touch points and different audiences and whatnot, right.

– You can easily implement this as a small to medium sized enterprise.

– Yeah, small to medium size businesses.

– It makes sense. And the ROI when implemented kind of in a holistic manner, is really pretty instantaneous I’ve seen. That’s what we do a lot–

– Give me one example. No client names, obviously, but give me one example where you see that kind of instant gratification or instant ROI.

– Sure, sure. As I said in the beginning, we work a lot with e-commerce clients and so, with one of them lately, we integrated a email system called Klaviyo with a pop-up system called Privy, and basically we were able to customize that user experience when they come to the site from some sort of paid channel. We are able to match the on-page experience with the experience that’s on the ad to kind of contribute to that scent trail, provide them with any kind of incentive or offer that we offer them within the ad. From there, we collect their information, goes to email marketing. When email, when they get an email, if it has the offer or if it has whatever the content is, we’re able to then tie that content back to the on-page experience using the user’s name, using the offer in totally different ways.

– This product, what about abandoned cart? That’s my favorite.

– Yeah, abandoned cart. If you don’t have abandoned cart flow coming through your site, you probably just leaving, conservatively, between 5-10% of your gross revenue just on the table. Basically, by having an abandoned cart flow, for those who don’t know, is basically, you have a system that monitors your site, when somebody puts a item in the cart, you have their email in your site already, or they start to put it in, but then, they abandon the cart. You’re able to then send them an email series with that specific product that they were looking at, just to remind them. People get distracted for a 100 different reasons. It could be–

– Baby’s crying.

– Dad at home, the baby starts crying, he puts down the iPad to go change them or something like that and when it comes back, football is on. All he needs is that one little email just to, not to push him to do anything, it’s just a reminder that he was in the middle of doing something and to come back. It’s very successful.

– Yep.

– You can do the same thing with browser abandonment. We funnel out with lead magnet offers, so just kind of an intro offer to your users if they come to the site. Give them a couple of percent off to give them your information. So you can communicate with them one-to-one. If you’re not doing that, altogether you can probably do

– There’s so many–

– about 15% off the bat.

– That’s right. There’s so many tactics and I know for us, there’s so many kinda tactics that we implement kind of out of the box. I know, for example, when we look at a client, if they’re not doing retargeting or remarketing, and that’s like the first thing we turn on for them, right. Now in the MA space, that marketing automation space, it’s very similar, where we have like these top 10 or top however many tactics. So browser abandonment, cart abandonment, right. Lead scoring. Those are on the top three workflows. Any others come to mind for you?

– No, not at the top, but when you said, you’re talk about retargeting and all.

– Do we have any written down?

– Marketing, this is something that some people, when they’re not super familiar with marketing or retargeting, kind of a little bit iffy about it. But one thing I’d say for business owners or C-Suite executives is, you need to be having some sort of email collection on your site. It doesn’t have to be just join our email list for updates. You can give them some sort of benefit, like an ebook in return. It can be transactional, but, where as with retargeting, it’s kind of cookie-ing or pixelating your users to hit them with display ads or RLSA ads. In the MA world, it really comes down to that email. If you can communicate with someone one, one-to-one, kind of you have that direct line into their psyche and their mind through their email inbox, that’s kind of the basis to MA and from there, most things kind of spring from that in terms of the real ROI driving activities.

– I agree wholeheartedly with the email portion of it. I’ll also say that marketing automation systems, when implemented properly can also deliver an experience, a personalized experience on your website and you don’t even have to have their email for that, right. For instance, if I see someone come in to my website from an ad or they land, let’s say they land on my careers page, okay, if the first time this visitor comes to my careers page I can pretty with high level of confidence say that, this is a job seeker.

– That’s right.

– So now what I can do, when they go to the rest of my site and they’re looking around and seeing my service pages and what have you, my call to action, my hello bar or my slide-in or what have you, instead of being, download this resource and why we’re the best agency or whatever, it’ll say instead, download this, or check out this page to learn about our culture, values, and benefits. You see what I’m saying? I didn’t even need or have their email for that. But what I did, I inferred, based on their browsing activity. So marketing automation is super powerful. There’s so much you can do with it and that’s why I bought you here EJ. I appreciate your time. Is there anything else you wanted to talk about, or do you just want to leave it here and we’ll do another episode some time?

– No, I’ll leave it here, we’ll do another episode soon and I appreciate your time and the opportunity to come on and speak with you about this. This is the kind of stuff I find very exciting. And it’s really the future. People really want that personal experience, and this I how you deliver it.

– That’s a good point.

– And it’s not nearly as complicated as some people may think.

– Maybe not for you, ’cause you do it all the time. It’s definitely harder than it looks, but yeah, in closing, marketing automation doesn’t have to be this huge thing. It can be as simple as just like a pop-up based on the user’s activity, but it can get very complicated very quickly. With hard work comes big rewards, and that’s what we see in marketing automation. Thank you EJ for your time and thank you for your time, listeners out there. Do me a favor and subscribe, More Than Marketing, we’re trying to stay on the bleeding edge for you. Hopefully add some value out there.

– Let us know what you think about what we talked about today, if you have any–

– What you want to hear more about.

– Yeah, what you want to hear more about. If you guys have any marketing automation hacks, put them down below.

– Yeah. And if you liked EJ, let him know, and we’ll bring him back. If not, well, he’s not coming back ever. Cheers, thank you very much.

– Thanks guys.

EJ White

EJ White

Arsham Mirshah

Arsham MirshahCEO & Co-Founder

Podcasts Info:
Creative + UX
News + Business

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